Gemencheh Bridge during Battle of Malaya
During the Battle of Malaya in the Second World War, Gemencheh Bridge near Gemas was the site of a fierce battle between the Imperial Japanese Army and the 2/30 Battalion, 8 Division, Australian Imperial Force (AIF). Commanding Officer of the Battalion was Lieutenant Colonel Frederick "Black Jack" Galleghan. Gemencheh Bridge was a bridge over the Sungei Gemencheh that connected Gemas with the larger neighboring town of Tampin. The Japanese had passed through Tampin and needed to cross the bridge to reach Gemas.
On 14 January 1942, "B" Company of the 2/30th Battalion, launched an ambush against the Japanese in the hope of preventing them from advancing further south. As the advancing Japanese soldiers on bicycle passed by the ambush site, the bridge was blown. The Australians then opened fire on the Japanese column and killed about 700 Japanese soldiers. The battle following the ambush, and a further battle closer to Gemas, lasted two days. It ended with the Australian withdrawal through Gemas to Fort Rose Estate.
Four days later, another encounter between Japanese and Allied soldiers took place near Parit Sulong during the Battle of Malaya. Allied troops, including the Australian 2/19th and 2/29th Battalions, were surrounded and routed there.
A memorial remembering fallen Australians now stands somewhere near the site of the destroyed Gemencheh Bridge in Federal route 1.
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